A 20-year-old Greek soccer player has been banned for life from Greece’s national teams for throwing up a Nazi salute after scoring a game-winning goal on Saturday.
Giorgos Katidis maintains he didn’t know what the Nazi salute meant, and was merely pointing at a teammate in the stands. (Hitler.) According to the Guardian, he described himself as “not a fascist” on Twitter before deleting his account.
Katidis’ coach Ewald Lienen (incidentally: a German) defended his player’s total lack of self-awareness, historical knowledge, and general brainpower, saying it was very likely that this adult human being who had grown up in the world had no idea what a Nazi salute looked like or stood for.
What “most likely” happened, according to Lienen, is that Katidis saw a picture of the move on the Internet one night while performing a Google Image search for “cool moves to do –no context,” then blindly copied it.
“He is a young kid who does not have any political ideas. He most likely saw such a salute on the internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means.”
In other words: Katidis doesn’t even know if he’s a Nazi yet.
Unfortunately, Greece’s national soccer federation, the EPO, isn’t giving the (now former) AEK Athens player any time to make up his mind on that one. They’ve already released a statement banning Katidis from the federation for life:
“The player’s action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi bestiality and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game.”
To help you avoid blunders like this, here’s a quick refresher on how to point to a friend:
[Guardian // Image via AP]
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Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.